TPG Internet fined over $290,000 for sending SMS spam

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority has fined TPG Internet A$360,000 (around $290,000) for breaching the country’s 2013 Spam Act.

The fine follows an investigation by the ACMA into complaints from consumers that they had unsubscribed from receiving commercial SMS messages from TPG Internet but continued to receive them.

The ACMA determined that TPG’s systems were not properly processing unsubscribe requests during April 2017. Consequently, TPG contravened subsection 16(1) of the Spam Act.

“Consumers have a right to expect that their requests to unsubscribe from marketing messages will be respected,” said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin. “This is a timely reminder to anyone who conducts email or SMS marketing to make sure the systems they have for maintaining their marketing lists are working well and comply with the Act.”

The ACMA said that it decided to issue an infringement notice to TPG Internet rather than commencing proceedings in the Federal Court, as the company co-operated with the ACMA during the investigation, admitted the breach, and has taken steps to remedy the causes of the breaches. 

The ACMA said that consent-based marketing practices is one of its current priority compliance areas for unsolicited communications. Commercial electronic messages must not be sent without the consent of the account holder. Consent can be express (for example, signing up to a mailing list) or inferred (such as through an existing business relationship)., but consent can also be withdrawn at any time.

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